You've Made It! Now What?

You’ve Made It! Now What?

Well, it looks like you might have made it through these tough times as a business owner.  After likely making cuts and pinching pennies… it might seem that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  At least that is what we can hope for.  Some business owner’s long term goals were recently given the back seat to meeting their immediate short term needs.  In fact, it’s hard to look forward due to the apprehension of… what if? As hard as it may be, it might be time to stop looking into the rear view mirror, and start looking towards the future.  But, I see many business owners starting to ask, “What now?”  Well, there are a few things you may need to start looking into, here are five:

1)  Build your team.  One of the first things I ask my clients when we meet is “who are your advisors?”  Having a team of advisors behind you can make a world of difference.  I routinely suggest you have a quality attorney, accountant, financial advisor, insurance agent, etc.  It is important to have someone who you can rely on when you have questions.  A business may flourish quickly with great advice… but may crash even faster with bad advice.

2)  So… What’s the plan?  How do you see yourself in 10, 20, or even 30 years down the road?  I have started implanting the idea of succession planning for some of my clients.  Looking at what you want to do with your business 20 years from now may help you make decisions for today.  You may have many ideas from selling your business, to passing it on to your children.  Whichever direction you choose, starting a plan and understanding how to protect that plan, is important to start now.

3)  Finding quality employees.  Now that you may have a long term goal for your business, how will you get there?  Setting yourself apart from your competition is one thing… but setting yourself apart from your competition as a good employer is another!  Employee benefits are frequently a sore subject for business owners.  Think of employee benefits as an investment in your business.  You may need to spend money to make money.  Think of how your business might be affected in the long term with quality, happy employees.

4)  Insure yourself… and the business.  You may have spent a lot energy on building up your business and getting through the “tough times”, and now the thought of losing it at the drop of a hat makes you cringe.  But one event that WOULD have enormous impact on your business and your personal goals is the death or disability of you, a business partner, or an employee.  I explain to my clients that their largest asset isn’t always their home, business, or boat… but may be their ability to earn income.  If you or your business partners aren’t around to earn that income, than how will your family survive such a tragedy?  Buy/Sell Agreements, Key Man Insurance, and even individually owned life insurance and disability policies could be one of the most important tools you can own to make sure your family is provided for in such an event.

5) Tying it all together.  Routinely, when I meet with a business owner about their retirement planning, many answer… “My business is my retirement plan!”  If that is true, I recommend you protect it!  But what many don’t understand is that it should only be a PIECE of your retirement plan.  Remember the famous saying?  “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!”  Would it be prudent for you to invest ALL of your money in one company’s stock? Similarly, relying on your business to be your nest egg may be considered in my industry as “lack of diversification.”  As business owners, we have several options for retirement accounts, which may be able to tie your business plan and your retirement plan together. So, as I said earlier… looking forward is key.  Looking in the rear view mirror may be a detriment to you and your business.  Building the core safety nets for your business may turn your business, and your future, into a prosperous one.

Registered Representative Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Cambridge and Conte Wealth Advisors are not affiliated.